News Release 

Good fellows: 2019 Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows announced

Office of Naval Research

How can the neuroscience behind emotion lead to new concepts of artificial intelligence? How does the human brain make fast decisions in real-world scenarios--and what impact does this have on human-to-human and human-machine interactions?

These are just some of the questions being pondered by the 10 scientists and engineers recently announced as members of the 2019 Class of Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows (VBFF).

The VBFF is the Department of Defense's most prestigious single-investigator award, and supports basic research with the potential for transformative impact. Each Fellow receives up to $3 million over a five-year term to pursue their research.

The fellowship is funded by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering--and administered by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The VBFF is named for Dr. Vannevar Bush, director of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development after World War II.

"Dr. Vannevar Bush was an ardent advocate for basic research and made creative and innovative contributions to the nation's security," said Dr. Ellen Livingston, the program officer who oversees the VBFF on behalf of ONR. "In line with his vision, the VBFF reflects the DoD's commitment to unfettered research and the exchange of scientific knowledge between the Fellows and the government to benefit our country."

The 2019 winners will join a group of 55 current Fellows, who conduct basic research in areas of importance to the DoD. They collaborate with DoD laboratories and share insights with leadership and the broader national security community.

The 2019 Fellows are:

  • Dr. Andrea Alu, City University of New York: Meta-Materials
  • Dr. Dmitri N. Basov, Columbia University: Dynamic Quantum Matters
  • Dr. Jian Cao, Northwestern University: Manufacturing Process Compiler
  • Dr. Winrich Freiwald, The Rockefeller University: Neuroscience of Emotions
  • Dr. Jack Harris, Yale University: Quantum Optomechanics
  • Dr. Richard D. James, University of Minnesota: Mathematical Design of Materials
  • Dr. Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University: Large Social and Information Networks
  • Dr. Siddharth Ramachandran, Boston University: Light-Matter Interactions
  • Dr. Paul Sajda, Columbia University: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Dr. Martin Zwierlein, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Quantum Emulation

"This fellowship supports new, out-of-the box ideas where researcher creativity intersects with the unknown," said Livingston. "The Fellows represent a cadre of experts that provide invaluable direction to the DoD in its scientific efforts--and also train the next generation of scientists and engineers."

Learn more about the Fellows and their research.

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